Meet Veronica McNally, a Crain’s Detroit 2021 Health Care Hero
Unbearable pain, then suffocating sorrow. Parents who lose a child – Sean and Veronica McNally of Oakland County, for example – know the darkness.
How did Veronica and Sean find light again after losing their 3-month-old daughter Francesca Marie – “Franny” – to pertussis/”whooping cough” in 2012? They channeled their grief into a life-mission to educate and empower parents so they might never experience the heartbreak of a child dying from a vaccine-preventable disease.
As a result of their work, Veronica was recently named a Crain’s Detroit Business 2021 Health Care Hero.
After Francesca’s passing, Veronica and Sean – both attorneys by profession – founded the Franny Strong Foundation, which works to provide parents with science-based information, medical research and facts – only facts – about vaccines. And in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), they launched the statewide peer-to-peer I Vaccinate public education campaign. The I Vaccinate website has become a go-to resource for Michigan parents and others with nearly 30,000 monthly visits seeking vaccine facts and answers to their questions. The campaign and website have received statewide and national acclaim, endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and nearly every public health and medical association and organization in Michigan. It also won the nation’s top award for public relations excellence in 2020.
To top it off, Veronica is also the only Michigan resident appointed to serve on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is one of two federal panels that must approve a new vaccine before it is authorized or approved for human use. If you read a Michigan newspaper, listen to radio news, or watch TV news, you’ve likely seen and heard Veronica multiple times in the past year as the ACIP voted to consider and authorize COVID vaccines for our nation. She has become a trusted source and on-air guest for journalists across Michigan.
It is through her work on the ACIP where the voice of parents across the nation has made the remarkable authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine possible. At a time when the arguably most important vaccine of our lifetimes was under review, Veronica has represented the questions, fears and hopes of countless parents in ensuring a safe and effective vaccine was developed. Thanks to the leadership of Veronica and all ACIP members, that vaccine is now a reality and working to end the worst pandemic our world has seen in more than a century.
At Martin Waymire, our company passion is to represent clients working to make Michigan a better place. With absolute confidence, we can say that Michigan – and our nation – are better places today because of Veronica and Sean McNally. Thanks to their Franny Strong Foundation and the I Vaccinate campaign, parents with questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines for their children are getting answers based only and entirely on medical science and research. Lives are being saved.
Watch this video to hear directly from Veronica and Sean about how their journey started. This video was produced in 2013 by Martin Waymire and Tell Studios. It marked our first-time meeting Veronica and Sean, and it changed all of our lives – absolutely for the better.
Finally, I Vaccinate would not exist without the support of other key partners, including MDHHS; all members of Michigan’s Parent Information Network of public health and medical organizations; the Michigan Health & Hospital Association in particular; government affairs specialist Kevin McKinney of McKinney & Associates in Lansing; MESSA; a strong bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats in the Michigan Legislature and the Governor’s Office; and last but not least the incredible team at Brogan & Partners.